In collaboration with the Pakistan Institute for Parliamentary Services (PIPS) SUBAI organized a two-day briefing National Knowledge Sharing Briefing on Budget and Economy event on 21-22 February, 2018. A number of economists, experts, and representatives from government departments briefed Members and senior Secretariat officials on a range of topical areas and key themes within the budget, various sectoral analyses and the wider issues associated with effective Public Financial Management (PFM).
The high-level event included the participation of the Speaker Balochistan, Hon. Raheela Durrani, Deputy Speaker, Hon. Syeda Shehla Raza, Deputy Speaker Gilgit Baltistan , Hon. Jaffarullah Khan, the Chairs and Members of the Standing Committees on Finance, as well as a large number of MPAs and MLAs from across all the six Assemblies of Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh, Punjab, Azad, Jammu & Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan as well as Senior Secretariat officials.
The event provided a truly participatory opportunity for the Members of the Provincial and Legislative Assemblies to interact with and deepen their understanding of the key areas and themes associated with the Pakistan economy and budget. As a result of the event:
- There was direct interaction and knowledge sharing between all the Assemblies;
- Members learned about the importance of effective parliamentary oversight, through various tools and the importance of moving away from short-term towards long-term planning and frameworks within which to frame the economic policies;
- Participants learned about the various executive bodies that need to be overseen by Parliament with reference to economic growth, SDGs, and service delivery;
- Knowledge and skills of Members was enhanced so that they can play a more effective oversight role, are better able to input into, and contribute to the upcoming budget debates in May-June 2018.
The event also included a visit to Parliament House and a highly interactive interaction with Senator Saleem Mandviwalla, Chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Finance, Senator Mohsin Leghari, and Senator Humayun Mandokhail. The interaction focused on the importance and need for greater Committee empowerment. As a result of the session, Members were able to understand and discuss with the Senate of Pakistan:
- The need for specific reform and amendments required in the Rules of Procedure to empower Committees in the Provincial & Legislative Assemblies;
- Being proactive in creating a critical mass of MPAs to drive reform and amendments;
- Exercising Committee oversight over respective Ministries and opening the Committees up to receiving evidence from external organizations.
- Knowledge sharing on the effective use of Committee powers and functions, and the developing and building of relationships and linkages among the Committees at Federal and Provincial level.
Senator Mandviwalla extended his full support to any Member of the Provincial and Legislative Assemblies who, wanted to use the Committees of the Senate as a model, to bring amendment and reform in their own Assemblies. The engaging visit concluded with a viewing of the Senate in action during the Session.
As for next steps this event will help inform the tranche of public financial management support that SUBAI will be developing as well as the themes to be considered for inclusion in the post-election 2018 orientation/familiarization support.